Lakers Kobe Bryant is NBA’s Top Earner; Vanessa Bryant (Probably) Rejoices

| by Alex Groberman

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is still filthy rich, in case you were wondering. And even though he currently finds himself in the middle of a messy divorce that will reportedly cost him $75 million and three top-notch mansions, Bryant’s amassed fortune is still hefty enough to land him the title of Forbes’ top earning NBA player.

According to Kurt Badenhausen, Bryant’s diversified international appeal (he’s big in Asia and Europe) coupled with a strong endorsement portfolio has netted him a league-topping $53.2 million this year. That figure is essentially comprised of his $25.2 million salary from L.A. (tops in the league) and the $28 million he garners endorsing companies like Nike, Smart Car, Panini and Turkish Airlines.

Why is a 33-year-old with 15 seasons worth of mileage on his tires bringing in a higher salary than anyone else in the NBA? Per the report:

Bryant’s Lakers salary is $3 million greater than any other NBA player thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the NBA’s maximum salary rules on individual players. Under the old collective bargaining agreement, 10-year veterans could sign deals for 35% of the salary cap which was $58 million last season. Yet players can sign deals worth 105% of their previous salary even if it exceeds the salary ceiling.

All of that, no doubt, is music to Vanessa Bryant’s ears.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James came in second on the Forbes list with a total earnings of $49 million. LeBron actually made more via sponsorships ($33 million) than Kobe did; however, as noted, he makes less from the Heat than his rival does from the Lakers.

Here is how the rest of the list looks:

  1. Kobe Bryant - $53.2 million
  2. LeBron James - $49 million
  3. Dwight Howard - $28.9 million
  4. Dwyane Wade - $27.7 million
  5. Carmelo Anthony - $26.5 million
  6. Amare Stoudemire - 26.2 million
  7. Kevin Garnett - $26.2 million
  8. Kevin Durant - $24.5 million
  9. Tim Duncan - $23.3 million
  10. Chris Paul - $22.2 million

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